Inspired by Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir Elvis and Me, Coppola’s movie will delve deep into the life of Presley’s former wife and her relationship with the king of rock’n’roll - from their first meeting when she was just 14 years old to their marriage and eventual divorce in 1973.
With music biopics currently on trend in the wake of films like Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman and Luhrmann’s Austin Butler-fronted feature, all eyes are on Coppola to see how she might switch up the formula.
Read more: The 10 best music biopics
Read on for all the key details we have about Priscilla so far, including its release date, plot, cast and more.
Priscilla release date
Priscilla is set to debut on Monday, 4 September at the Venice Film Festival. It is scheduled to arrive in US cinemas on Friday, 27 October, and in the UK it will premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October.
The film is being distributed by Mubi in the UK and Ireland, and the company confirmed that the drama will be released theatrically with special 35mm previews on 26 December, 2023 before being given a wide release on 1 January, 2024.
Written and directed by Coppola, Priscilla takes its cues from the 1985 memoir Elvis and Me which Presley’s former wife wrote to chronicle her relationship with the music icon.
According to Coppola, the film will depict Priscilla throughout a variety of ages and span her entire relationship with Elvis, troubles and all.
"I've had her memoir for years and remember reading it a long time ago. A friend of mine was talking about her recently, and we got around to discussing the book. I read it again and was really moved by her story,” Coppola told Vogue before starting work on the project.
“I was just so interested in Priscilla's story and her perspective on what it all felt like to grow up as a teenager in Graceland. She was going through all the stages of young womanhood in such an amplified world—kinda similar to Marie Antoinette."
The film’s teaser trailer and poster clue us in on the vibe that Coppola hopes to pursue with her movie, suggesting that Elvis will be a supporting player in Priscilla’s story as she goes from an unknown youth to hitting the big time with her famous spouse.
It’s a story that has later been romanticised through the lens of pop culture thanks, in part, to the mammoth nature of Elvis’ ongoing mythology.
However, whether or not Coppola chooses to highlight the various issues that were clearly present in the couple’s relationship (the pair’s romance starting when Priscilla was only just a teenager, for starters), remains to be seen but was heavily hinted at during a chat with The Hollywood Reporter.
“I just got who she was and I felt that she could get me," said executive producer Priscilla of Coppola, highlighting her own career growing up as the daughter of famed director Francis Ford Coppola. “I thought, we have different stories, but she could understand this better than any writer because she kind of lived it in her own way.”
Mare of Easttown’s Cailee Spaeny will take centre stage as Priscilla, playing the role through all stages of her relationship with Elvis, from a young teenager to a young adult. Meanwhile, Euphoria star Jacob Elordi will take on Elvis, a role that, for many, will still be heavily associated with Luhrmann’s lead Butler.
When it came to casting her actors, Coppola was full of praise for Spaeny even before filming began: "The character goes from the age of 15 to 27 over the course of the film, so she had to be able to act and age across a big span of time,” she says.
“It was really important for me to have the same actress playing Priscilla at those different stages of her life, and I think Cailee can pull it off. She's such a strong actress, and she also looks very young.”
Meanwhile, she spoke just as highly of Elordi: "I thought nobody was gonna look quite like Elvis, but Jacob has that same type of magnetism. He's so charismatic, and girls go crazy around him, so I knew he could pull off playing this type of romantic icon.”
Elsewhere, Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll will play Alan "Hog Ears" Fortas, a member of Elvis’ inner circle, the self-titled ‘Memphis Mafia,’ with Luke Humphrey playing Terry West, one of Priscilla’s future love interests who spiked the King’s jealousy.
Emily Mitchell and Raine Monroe Boland will play Priscilla’s late daughter Lisa Marie Presley, presumably at two different ages, with Jorja Cadence as Elvis's cousin Patsy Presley and Dagmara Domińczyk in an as-yet-undisclosed role.
It was later revealed in The Hollywood Reporter that Coppola’s movie will not feature any music from the Elvis estate. Instead, much of the film’s music is provided by Coppola’s husband Thomas Mars and his band Phoenix.
The first teaser trailer for Priscilla was released in late July and provided our first look at the stylised and intimate story that Coppola has in store.
Through the soft lens of cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd, we watch Priscilla rise from a small-town child to the wife of the biggest rock star on the planet. The teaser is set to a slick soundtrack of more modern hits, something that has become a calling card for Coppola’s work.
Watch it below:
Priscilla will be released in the UK with special 35mm previews on 26 December 2023, and will be given a wide release on 1 January, 2024.